BOSTON--()--In just five days, the next milestone in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) takes place: the September 23rd deadline for employers to distribute SBCs (Summary of Benefits & Coverage) to employees and other health plan participants. In this age of 24x7 access to digital, online and mobile communications health insurance providers are attempting to produce SBCs using manual methods that cost millions. These costs will inevitably be passed on to businesses and employees.
“Organizations relying on traditional, manual methods to achieve compliance, will very likely fail to meet deadlines, and most importantly, fail to provide families with critical information they can use to make plan decisions”
HighRoads, the industry leader in employer health care compliance and benefits management, notes research from the America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), Center for Policy and Research, estimates the cost of SBC compliance at close to $200 million annually. HighRoads advocates the use of automation and online technologies to reduce costs and meet the SBC distribution deadline. In fact, when planning the implementation of SBCs, HHS met with HighRoads and other stakeholders to explore the best means of meeting new compliance requirements, without incurring a heavy cost burden.
“HighRoads has briefed HHS on our automated benefits compliance solution which enables businesses to create, manage and distribute SBCs at a small fraction of the cost of what providers and consultants are incurring,” said Michael Byers, CEO, HighRoads.
Byers notes that HighRoads technology has already been used to create and distribute thousands of distinct SBCs for some of the nation’s largest employers. “These companies are ahead of the game in terms of meeting compliance deadlines, controlling costs, and in being able to provide plan participants with accurate, up-to-date information they can use during the fall open enrollment period,” said Byers.
“Organizations relying on traditional, manual methods to achieve compliance, will very likely fail to meet deadlines, and most importantly, fail to provide families with critical information they can use to make plan decisions,” he said. Earlier this year, HighRoads launched the first-of-its-kind smartphone app that allows employers to provide legally-compliant SBC materials to plan participants on a mobile device. HighRoads is also the industry’s leading provider of an online portal to enable distribution and proof of receipt tracking of SPDs (Summary Plan Descriptions) and SBCs to employees.
Published reports citing the Kaiser Family Foundation study show the cost of workplace health benefits have risen 97 percent over the past decade while wages have risen just 33 percent. Over the past decade, the average total cost of a family health insurance plan rose from $8,003 to $15,745, according to the Kaiser survey.
“Clearly, health care costs are going in the wrong direction. But, by using available technology such as online employee portals and mobile communication, insurance providers can make a significant step towards broader cost controls, participant empowerment, while assuring ACA compliance,” said Byers.
The world’s leading employers choose HighRoads to gain complete control over their health care costs and compliance. HighRoads’ SaaS-based solutions provide employers with complete benefits management capability, including benefits plan information and pricing, competitive benefits benchmarks, and complete benefits compliance management. The privately-held company is headquartered in Woburn, MA. For more information, visit www.HighRoads.com. Follow us at @HighRoadsHR.